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What We're Watching: France's post-AUKUS win, Haiti's election cancelled, Japan ends COVID emergency

France gets a post-AUKUS win: Greece and France have inked a $5 billion deal for Athens to buy at least four French-made warships. French and American contractors had been in a bidding war since 2019, when Greece announced it was looking to buy half a dozen naval attack vessels. For French President Emmanuel Macron, it was a much-needed win after the recent AUKUS debacle, when the US froze Paris out of a security pact with Australia and the UK, nixing a contract for Australia to buy French submarines. At the signing ceremony in Paris, Macron and Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis touted the deal as a move towards European "strategic autonomy" (since coming to power in 2017, Macron has been a strong advocate of Europe pursuing a defense strategy independent from the US). Greece, for its part, has also been looking to boost its own military capabilities amid deteriorating relations with longtime foe Turkey over competing maritime claims in the Eastern Mediterranean.

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Europe fears Afghan refugees will cause a political crisis

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Europe:

What are the fears in Europe stemming out of what is happening in Afghanistan?

Well, there are of course, a lot fears coming, long-term security and other issues, the effect on global politics of this. But more immediate, of course, there is the refugee issue. There's enormous generosity when it comes to full accepting all of those that we've been able to evacuate that have been working with us in force over the years in Afghanistan. But there's also a fear that there will be a repetition of 2015. There are elections coming up in September in Norway and primarily in Germany and in the beginning of next year in France. And you can see the EU internal interior ministers meeting and you can see what President Macron is saying. And I think the reaction is going to be an enormous will to have humanitarian efforts in the region, the hope that the United Nations can stay in Afghanistan and can help in the region. And that is important. But then we also see, of course, that the walls are coming up. The Turks are building a wall on the border with Iran. Greece is building a wall on the border with Turkey. And add to that, of course, we have the problem of the weaponization of refugees. Lukashenko of Belarus is sort of deliberately, a sort of importing, smuggling, and paying for refugees to come to Minsk, and then he is hovering them over the border to Lithuania and Poland and Latvia in order to pressure those particular countries. That has to be reacted to. So, issues are going to be complex when it comes to Afghanistan. We're going to live with the Afghanistan issue for a very long time.

What We're Watching: Greek border wall, China’s economic rebound, US overtures to… Syria?

Build that wall... in Greece: The Greek government has finalized plans to build a wall along part of its eastern border with Turkey to prevent migrants from staging mass crossings to reach European Union territory. The move follows a March standoff between Athens and Ankara when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared he was "opening" the border because Turkey could no longer cope with so many migrants fleeing Syria. Since then, migrant flows via Turkey to the EU have declined dramatically due to the coronavirus pandemic and tougher policing, but Greeks and Turks (as always) remain at odds over what to do with the migrants: Greece wants Turkey to do more to stop migrants crossing, while Turkey says Greece is sending back migrants who arrive at Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. As the two sides continue to bicker over this issue — and over energy rights in the Eastern Mediterranean — the only thing that's clear is that Greece won't demand that Turkey pay for the wall.

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PM Mitsotakis: Greece’s pandemic response improved its “brand” in the EU

Long derided as the European Union's "problem child" Greece has shown itself to be a model for pandemic response and economic recovery within theEuropean bloc. And as the EU enacts a massive economic bailout plan, one that Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis likens to the "Marshall plan" of the post WWII era, the leader of this Southern European nation thinks the future looks bright.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Greece's unlikely COVID success story: Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greece-Turkey Tensions Goes Back (Way Back)

To understand the latest escalation of tensions between Greece and Turkey, you have to go back in history. Way, way back. Ian Bremmer turns back the clock and then explains how things got so heated this summer that a military conflict almost broke out. A crisis was averted for now, but who knows what the next few months will bring?

Watch the GZERO World episode: Greece's unlikely COVID success story: Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greece's PM answers: Are refugees becoming geopolitical pawns between Greece and Turkey?

"Our number one priority is to protect human life at sea, but we also have responsibility of protecting our borders," Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Ian Bremmer when asked about the growing refugee crisis in his country. In an interview for GZERO World, Bremmer pressed the Prime Minister on if he's forced helpless refugees in the region play a role in a geopolitical tiff between Greece and Turkey.

Is Greece taking sides in the escalating conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

As war breaks out between Armenia and Azerbaijan over a contested region in the Caucuses, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tells Ian Bremmer that the Greeks have "fully aligned ourselves with calls for an immediate cease fire." But as the conflict heats up and global powers take sides, what will be the larger geopolitical implications?

Watch the GZERO World episode: Greece's unlikely COVID success story: Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Quick Take: COVID hits Trump; thousands dead in Armenia & Azerbaijan

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here with Moose, the dog. He's barely awake. It's a Happy Monday to you and we are still deep in the throws of coronavirus, myself, the country, the world, the President. I mean, it's what we're talking about. It is by far the most important story out there.

But what a crazy news cycle, my God. I mean, if you think about the last few days, you've got a new Supreme Court nominee they're trying to move through. You've got Trump's former campaign manager getting arrested after an attempted suicide. You've got massive tax revelations in the New York Times about Trump not paying taxes for 10 years and then paying $750 for two years in a row, which is a weird number.

Then, of course, the most historically ridiculous presidential debate that any of us had seen. Of course, all of that goes out the window because President Trump is found to be positive for coronavirus, as well as the First Lady Melania and his press secretary and a couple of Republican senators and a whole bunch of other people. It turns out that this event in the Rose Garden and inside the White House was a super spreader event. Lots of people getting coronavirus inside the White House, which means maybe you don't want to spend as much time there.

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